First United Methodist presents “The Winter Rose”
By May Soricelli
Harmonious chords rang through Berthoud’s First United Methodist Church sanctuary on Dec. 9, as choir members rehearsed their annual Christmas cantata performance. The church’s cantata performance is one way they hope to bring a Christmas message to the community and invite guests into their Christmas service.
“It’s our Christmas offering to the community,” said Shirley Wilsey, First United Methodist Church secretary.
A Christmas cantata is a musical performance tied together by dialogue, reflecting on the Nativity. This year’s choir will present “The Winter Rose,” by Joseph and Pamela Martin.
“From the earliest Christian time, the rose has been a symbol of divine love. It gently reaches across the ages in ancient illuminations and freely spills from the pens and brushes of countless poets and artists. Today the rose remains a vital expression of love and peace, both inside the church and the outside world. Let Christ, the rose of Sharon, open before you this Christmas to encourage your spirit by the beauty of God’s greatest gift.”- excerpt from “The Winter Rose.”
In early November the particular cantata was selected and practice began right away for the choir; meeting every Wednesday evening to prepare for the exhibition, and will continue until the event on Dec. 20.
With nearly 20 performers divided into tenor, bass, alto and soprano, “The Winter Rose” performance will have a lofty and dynamic representation.
Since the retirement of former choir director Bob Latchaw, Sharon Darland has gladly fulfilled the role and is eager to lead her first Christmas cantata with the church. Her experience and expertise comes from her career as a music teacher in Fort Collins.
Local accompanist Joseph Hollifield brings the addition of live piano performance to the event for his first year after being hired this fall by the church. “He’s a marvelous pianist,” said Wilsey, “This is the first year for us to have the luxury of hearing an actual accompanist instead of recorded music. That makes this special.”
The Christmas cantata will take place on Dec. 20 in the sanctuary of the First United Methodist Church at 820 Ninth Street in Berthoud. It will be held during the church service which begins at 10 a.m. on that day.
The choir performance is open to the public’s enjoyment. “It always attracts extra people. It’s been an annual tradition since I’ve been here eight to nine years,” said Wilsey.
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